Encyclopedia: Wang Rui

Wang Rui (Tongyao); Wang Jui (T‘ung-yao); 王睿

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Wang Rui (Tongyao) 王睿

Lived: AD ?–190

None Available

Served: Han

Governor of Jingzhou. Tried to have Cao Yin killed, but was killed first by Sun Jian.

Officer Details

Wade-Giles: Wang Jui (T‘ung-yao)
Simplified Chinese: 王睿
Pronunciation: Wang2 Rui4
Cantonese (Yale): Wong Yeui
Cantonese (Jyutpin): Wong Jeoi

Birthplace: Unknown

Rank and Titles

Inspector of Jingzhou (Chen Shou) or Governor of Jingzhou (Pei Songzhi Quoting Wulu) [SGZ: Wu 1]

Family and Relationships

Wang Rong (Brother); Wang Xiang (Nephew)

Literary Appearances

Sanguozhi: Wu 1

Zizhi tongjian: 59

Search Results

Wang Rui, Cao Yin and Sun Jian
Date: 01/07     Replies: 21

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Historic (Confirmed)

Wang Rui was Governor of Jingzhou (1). Wang Rui intended to raise troops to attack Dong Zhuo. He also held a feud with Cao Yin, Prefect of Wuling, and intended to have him executed before leaving. Cao Yin was alarmed by this and accordingly forged a letter from the Household Grandee citing various crimes and calling for his execution, and had it delivered to Sun Jian. Sun Jian also had a feud with Wang Rui, who treated him with resentment because of his lowly birth.

(1): Governor of Jingzhou was later appointed to Liu Biao by Dong Zhuo.

Upon receiving the decree Sun Jian marched on Wang Rui. When Wang Rui heard an army was coming he dispatched a messenger to learn their intentions. Sun Jian’s vanguard explained that they had not been compensated properly and couldn’t even afford to buy clothing. Wang Rui, who did not yet know that Sun Jian was leading the troops, protested, “How could a governor be stingy to his men?” He opened his storehouses and asked the troops to enter the city so they could see for themselves that he was not withholding anything.

When the troops entered and came under Wang Rui’s tower he noticed Sun Jian. Shocked, he asked, “These troops are here to ask for reward. What are you, Prefect Sun, doing with them?” Sun Jian replied, “I have an imperial emissary’s decree calling for your execution.” Wang cried, “But what crime have I committed?” Sun Jian replied, “The crime of not knowing anything.” He then forced Wang Rui to commit suicide by drinking wine with gold flakes (2). (3)

(2): The golden flakes would be poisonous.

(3): Wulu as quoted in Pei’s commentary, Sanguozhi: Wu 1. Great thanks are in order to Yun of China History Forum, whose translation was referenced and used in parts of the previous paragraph.

Chen Shou’s explanation in Sanguozhi reads simply, “Wang Rui, the Inspector of Jingzhou, never showed courtesy to him in their meetings. So Sun Jian killed him as he passed his territory.” It is also worth noting that Chen Shou identifies Wang Rui as ‘Inspector of Jingzhou’, a post that would not have permitted him to call for an officer’s execution, rather than Governor of Jingzhou, which may have been assigned with such authority relative to military law.



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April 10, 2023